Cubs Can’t Rally Past Mistakes – Cubs 6, Pirates 7

Game One Hundred Forty-Five – Cubs 6, Pirates 7
WP – Wandy Rodriguez (11-13) LP – Jason Berken (0-1) Save – Joel Hanrahan (35)

The Cubs could not outhit their mistakes on Saturday afternoon and their rally came up short a run short in the ninth inning against Joel Hanrahan.

The Cubs trailed 6-1 after four innings and to their credit they never quit playing. The Cubs scored two in the fifth, one in the eighth and made the Pirates sweat in the ninth. The Bucs took a 7-4 lead into the final frame with the top of the order due up for the Cubs. The Cubs showed a lot of patience against Joel Hanrahan and made the Pirates’ closer throw 33 pitches.

The Cubs notched two hits and worked three walks in the ninth, the third free pass forced in the Cubs’ sixth run of the game. Alfonso Soriano singled in Joe Mather and Luis Valbuena worked a two-out walk with the bases loaded that forced in Darwin Barney with the Cubs’ sixth run. Dave Sappelt stepped in with the bases loaded, two outs and the Cubs down by one run. Joel Hanrahan got the call on a 2-1 offering to Sappelt then blew a 97 mph fastball past him to end the game.

The Cubs outhit the Pirates 13-10 but only two of the hits went for extra bases while the Pirates pounded the ball all over the yard … five of the Pirates’ 10 hits were for extra bases. The Cubs finished the game 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base.

Jason Berken had a rough afternoon. While the Cubs defense did not help him, Berken was very hittable. Berken was able to limit the damage the first time through the lineup but left a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate and up throughout his short, four-inning outing. The Pirates scored in each of the four innings that Berken was on the mound and managed only one runs and two hits over the last five innings. Berken allowed six runs, two earned, on eight hits with a walk, a hit batsman and two strikeouts in four innings. Berken threw 77 pitches, 46 for strikes, in his Cubs’ debut.

The Cubs pen did a good job of keeping the Pirates off the board over the five innings they had to cover on Saturday afternoon. Rafael Dolis put together his best outing in several months and retired the Pirates in order in the fifth on just 11 pitches. Jeff Beliveau worked around a one-out double without allowing any runs in the sixth.

Alberto Cabrera surrendered the Pirates’ seventh run in the seventh inning, a solo homer off the bat of Clint Barmes. Cabrera allowed one hit and a walk over his two innings. Michael Bowden retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.

Each position player in Dale Sveum’s starting lineup collected at least one hit on Saturday afternoon but it is very difficult to win a high scoring game with only singles (11 of 13 hits were singles).

Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored), Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a RBI), Dave Sappelt (2-for-5 with a run scored) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with two RBI) had multi-hit games. Soriano drove in two runs and ran his season total to 99 RBI. Luis Valbuena (1-for-1 with a walk and two RBI) plated two of the Cubs’ six runs with a RBI pinch-hit single in the eighth and a bases loaded walk in the ninth. Joe Mather (1-for-5 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) scored two of the Cubs’ six runs and drove in one in the fifth.

Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored) ran his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games and put on a defensive clinic at second base. Barney made three tremendous plays and two of them took hits away from Pedro Alvarez. Darwin Barney did not commit an error for the 130th straight ballgame.

Josh Vitters (1-for-3) had a rough game both at the plate and in the field. Vitters saw two pitches in his first two at bats and grounded into double plays both times … two pitches and four outs will not sit well with the Cubs’ new regime. Vitters’ throwing issues continued on Saturday as well. Vitters’ third charged error of the season opened the door for the Pirates’ three-run fourth inning.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 57-88 on the season …

Jason Berken made his Cubs’ debut on Saturday afternoon and gave the Pirates a run in the first without allowing a hit. Berken really struggled with his command and fell behind early and often. Starling Marte fell behind 1-2 but Berken could not put him away. Berken plunked the speedster on a 2-2 pitch. Travis Snider stepped in and Welington Castillo made a snap throw to first after the first pitch. The ball ended up in the Pirates’ pen down the right field line. Marte made it all the way to third. Berken threw a very good changeup to Snider on a 0-2 pitch and got him to chase for the first out. Berken then wanted nothing to do with Andrew McCutchen and walked him on four pitches.

Garrett Jones drove a 1-2 pitch to deep left. Alfonso Soriano hauled it in on the track. Marte tagged and scored the first run of the game. Neil Walker grounded out to Darwin Barney (1-1 pitch) to end the inning. Jason Berken threw 20 pitches in the first, 11 for strikes, and allowed a run without a hit, a walk and a hit batsman.

The Cubs did nothing in the first inning … 1-2-3 for Wandy Rodriguez on 15 pitches, 10 for strikes.

The Pirates put another run on the board in the second. Berken’s struggles continued but he wiggled his way out of a big jam with allowing only one run. Pedro Alvarez led off the second with a single to left (2-1 pitch). Berken fell behind Clint Barmes 2-0. After Berken was able to throw a strike, Clint Hurdle called for a hit and run. Barmes drove the ball through the vacated hole at second (Barney broke to cover the bag). Alvarez ended up at third with no outs.

The Cubs caught a big break when Rod Barajas shot to left hit off the top of the wall just under the basket. Barajas crushed a 1-0 pitch that ended up being just a long single. Alvarez scored, 2-0 Pirates. Wandy Rodriguez stepped in with runners on first and third with no outs. Rodriguez dropped down a bunt (1-0 pitch) and advanced his catcher into scoring position.

Dale Sveum brought his infield in and Starling Marte smoked a 1-0 pitch toward third. Josh Vitters got in front of the ball but could not field it cleanly. The ball hit off Vitters’ chest and bounced right to Castro, who picked up the ball and threw out Marte at first. Both runners held on the play. Travis Snider pulled Berken’s first pitch right to Darwin Barney. Barney fielded and threw to first to end the inning. Berken threw 35 pitches, 19 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Alfonso Soriano popped out to a diving Travis Snider in short right to start the second inning. Starlin Castro fell behind 1-2 but ended up working a one-out walk, the Cubs first baserunner of the game. Welington Castillo took a full swing on a 0-1 pitch and dropped a single in front of Andrew McCutchen for the Cubs first hit. Josh Vitters swung at the first pitch and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning … Rodriguez threw 26 pitches in the first two innings, 17 for strikes.

Andrew McCutchen led off the third with his second homer in as many games. McCutchen hit a rocket to the bleachers in left on a 3-2 pitch … 3-0 Pirates. Berken retired Jones (fly out to deep center), Walker (swinging strikeout on a 3-2 pitch) and Alvarez (fly out to left center) in order to end the third. Berken needed 52 pitches, 29 for strikes, to complete three innings of work.

Dave Sappelt led off the third with a single to left (2-1 pitch). Jason Berken could not get the bunt down and fouled off a bunt attempt on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Mather hit a weak grounder toward short. Barmes fielded and threw to Walker to force Sappelt for the second out. Mather took over at first and advanced to second when Barney ripped a 2-2 pitch into left. Barney extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with the two-out base knock.

Anthony Rizzo stepped in and Mather swiped third on a 1-1 pitch. Rizzo pulled a 2-1 pitch into right and plated Mather with the Cubs’ first run. Barney ended up at third with two down. Alfonso Soriano flied out to center (1-1 pitch) to end the inning. Rodriguez threw 51 pitches, 33 for strikes, over the first three innings.

The Pirates took advantage of extra opportunities in the fourth and put three runs up on the scoreboard. Clint Barmes hit a routine grounder toward third (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Josh Vitters fielded the ball cleanly, took too much time and threw low to first. Anthony Rizzo could not bail him out and Vitters’ third error at the big league level put Barmes on second base to start the inning. Rod Barajas grounded a 2-0 pitch to Castro. Barmes held at second. Wandy Rodriguez then rolled a 2-1 offering to Barney for the second out, Barmes advanced to third with two down.

Starling Marte drove a 1-1 pitch into right center. Barmes scored easily on Marte’s third triple of the season. Travis Snider pulled a 1-2 pitch into right. Marte scored and the Pirates took a 5-1 lead. Andrew McCutchen kept the line moving. McCutchen ripped Berken’s first offering back into center. The Pirates’ third two-out hit of the inning put runners on first and second with two down.

Garrett Jones smoked a 0-1 pitch toward third. Josh Vitters tried to make a leaping catch. The ball hit off his glove and died in shallow left. Snider scored on Jones’ double. The Pirates took a 6-1 lead and had runners on second and third with two down for Neil Walker. Walker flied out to Mather in deep left center to end the inning. Berken threw 77 pitches, 46 for strikes, in four innings of work.

Wandy Rodriguez faced the minimum in the fourth after Starlin Castro singled to right to start the inning. Welington Castillo struck out swinging and Vitters grounded into his second double play of the game. Vitters hit the first pitch he saw to Clint Barmes … 6-3 double play. Rodriguez threw 62 pitches over four innings, 42 for strikes.

Rafael Dolis, with a little help from Darwin Barney taking a hit away from Pedro Alvarez, retired the side in order on 11 pitches, eight for strikes, in the fifth.

The Cubs started chipping away in the fifth and were able to take advantage of a throwing error by Wandy Rodriguez. Dave Sappelt smoked a 0-1 pitch toward the hole at short. Pedro Alvarez tried to make a diving catch but the ball squirted out of his glove and Sappelt reached on an infield single. Brett Jackson hit for Dolis and tapped a 0-2 pitch back to the mound. Rodriguez fielded the ball but threw wide to second. The ball hit off Barmes’ glove, sailed past Walker and Sappelt ended up at third.

Joe Mather stepped in with runners on first and third with no outs. Mather hit a 2-1 pitch toward short. Barmes picked and threw to Walker but Mather reached first as Sappelt scored the Cubs’ second run. Barney hit a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Rodriguez fielded the ball and took his time throwing to second. Mather was forced but Barney beat Walker’s throw to first and kept the inning going for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo ripped Rodriguez’s first pitch into right. Barney held at second with two down and Soriano stepped in with runners on first and second with two outs. Alfonso Soriano dribbled a 1-0 pitch into right. Barney scored and Rizzo motored to third. With runners on first and third with two down, Starlin Castro popped the first pitch to Barmes in shallow left to end the inning. Rodriguez needed 81 pitches, 56 for strikes, to complete five innings on Saturday afternoon.

After five complete, the Cubs trailed 6-3.

Jeff Beliveau retired Wandy Rodriguez on a grounder to second for the first out in the sixth. Starling Marte pulled a 2-2 pitch down the third baseline. Marte ended up at second with a one-out double. Travis Snider popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right. Sappelt ran in toward the infield as Barney raced out. Darwin Barney made an over the shoulder catch and avoided a sliding Sappelt for the second out. Beliveau walked McCutchen intentionally. With two on and two down, Garrett Jones popped out to left (first pitch) to end the inning.

Welington Castillo flied out to deep center to start the sixth. Josh Vitters looked at two straight out of the zone before driving a 2-1 pitch into right field. Dave Sappelt flied out to deep right center and Anthony Recker, hitting for Beliveau, struck out swinging to end the inning.

After six complete, the Cubs trailed 6-3.

Alberto Cabrera started the seventh and retired Neil Walker on a flyout to right center. Darwin Barney took another hit away from Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez pulled the first pitch into the hole at second. Barney made an excellent sliding stop, popped up and threw out Alvarez at first. Alberto Cabrera fell behind Clint Barmes (2-1) with a little help from the homeplate umpire. Barmes was sitting on Cabrera’s next pitch and drove it into the bleachers in left. Cabrera struck out Rod Barajas swinging to end the inning.

Lefty Tony Watson started the seventh and struck out Joe Mather for the first out. Darwin Barney worked a walk and was forced at second after Rizzo hit a grounder to Neil Walker. With Rizzo at first and the Pirates up by four, Clint Hurdle went to his pen for Jared Hughes. Alfonso Soriano could not check his swing on a 2-2 pitch and struck out to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 7-3.

Alberto Cabrera stayed in for the eighth and issued a four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Brock Holt. Holt took off for second on a 2-1 pitch to Marte. Starling Marte bunted. Cabrera fielded the ball and tossed to Rizzo for the first out. Travis Snider grounded out to second. Holt advanced to third but was stranded when Cabrera struck out McCutchen swinging to end the inning.

Starlin Castro greeted Jason Grilli with a double down the right field line. Castro drove the 0-2 pitch and rounded second with third base on his mind. Castro stumbled around the bag, fell down and dove back into the base safely. Welington Castillo struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Luis Valbuena hit for Vitters and drove a 2-1 pitch into center. Castro scored and cut the Pirates lead to 7-4. Sappelt popped Grilli’s first pitch straight up. Rod Barajas flipped off the mask and appeared to have a play on the ball that was pushed to the right of the plate. Barajas dropped the ball but Sappelt could not take advantage. Sappelt popped the next pitch toward first. Jones followed the ball into foul ground, reached into the camera well near the dugout and caught the ball as he bumped into the camera. David DeJesus hit for Cabrera and struck out swinging on three pitches to end the inning.

After eight, the Cubs trailed 7-4.

Michael Bowden issued a two-out walk to Pedro Alvarez in the ninth but that was all and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth down by three.

Joel Hanrahan made his way to the mound for the ninth. Joe Mather popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow center. McCutchen over-ran the ball and it bounced away from him. Mather ended up at second on what was scored as a double. Hanrahan fell behind Darwin Barney 3-1 and missed on a 3-2 pitch to put two on with no outs for Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo flied out to right on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Alfonso Soriano pulled a 1-0 pitch into left. Mather scored and cut the Pirates lead to 7-5. Tony Campana ran at first for Soriano.

Starlin Castro drove a 1-0 pitch to deep right center. McCutchen caught the ball. Barney tagged and advanced to third with two down. Tony Campana took off for second on the first pitch to Welington Castillo. The Pirates did not cover the bag. Welington Castillo walked on four pitches to load the bases.

Luis Valbuena walked and forced in Barney with the Cubs’ sixth run. Jeff Samardzija ran for Castillo at second and Dave Sappelt stepped in with the bases loaded, two out and the Cubs down by one.

Dave Sappelt struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Chris Volstad is scheduled to face lefty Jeff Locke on Sunday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver